Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Kathy aka Bermuda Onion where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading. Feel free to join in the fun.

All of today's words come from Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Sometimes it’s nice when Claire acknowledges the foreignness of some of these words to her, as well. Occasionally she’ll define them for us which is lovely (and those words I did not include herein). I also did not include the words for flowers, birds, herbs, swearing, Gaelic, Latin, or French. There were so many unfamiliar words here, I am going to break this into multiple posts. I don’t know if it’s mostly the Scottish that made so many of these pop up for me, or the historical, though I suspect it’s both. Thankfully I found a couple of sources of Scottish slang as many of these words were not found in dictionary.com. The frequency of these words may seem to drop off but that’s because I only list them once, and many of these did appear throughout the book, all the way up to the end.

Potsherds (8)
“Uncle Lamb would have filled it with potsherds long before I could have got near it with a bunch of daisies.”
a broken pottery fragment, esp. one of archaeological value.
Sporran (20)
“And a Scot, in complete Highland rig-out, complete to sporran and the most beautiful running-stag brooch on his plaid.”
(in Scottish Highland costume) a large pouch for men, commonly of fur, worn, suspended from a belt, in front of the kilt. (see picture)
Couchant (36)
“Peering at the crest, with its faded leopard couchant, and the printing below, more legible than the handwriting.”
Heraldry. (of an animal) represented as lying on its stomach with its hind legs and forelegs pointed forward.
Kine (41)
a plural of cow
Withy (41)
“Sacrifices were made to it – kine, and sometimes even wee bairns, flung into the water in withy baskets.”
made of pliable branches or twigs, esp. of withes.
Cottar (55)
“You haven’t the smell of dung on your skin, so you haven’t been with a cottar.”
a peasant farmer in the Scottish Highlands
Chirurgeon (62)
“We’d need a chirurgeon to put it back in place properly.”
Archaic. a surgeon.
Asperity (64)
“I said with considerable asperity.”
harshness or sharpness of tone, temper, or manner; severity; acrimony
Dirks (71)
“They were serious men, and the dirks and swords were real.”
a dagger, esp. of the Scottish Highlands. (see picture)
Bannock (86)
“Let a stray bannock come within reach, though, and I’ll no answer for the consequences.”
a flat cake made of oatmeal, barley meal, etc., usually baked on a griddle.
Parritch (94)
“I had no appetite for the bannocks and parritch that Mrs. FitzGibbons had brought for my breakfast.”
Runcible Spoon (104)
“I saw nothing resembling a fork, and I dimly recalled that runcible spoons would not be in general use for quite a few years yet.”
a nonsense word coined by Edward Lear; used especially in runcible spoon "spoon with three short tines like a fork," which first took the name 1926. (see picture)
Trews (107)
“a thin-faced man in trews and smocked shirt, who lounged against the wall.”
close-fitting tartan trousers, worn esp. by certain Scottish regiments.
Costive (169)
“But happen he’s costive or flatulent, the boy’ll lose an ear or a hand, most like.”
slow in action or in expressing ideas, opinions, etc.
Felon (172)
“He had been to the Castle only a few days before to see whether I could treat a persistent felon on his thumb.”
an acute and painful inflammation of the deeper tissues of a finger or toe, usually near the nail: a form of whitlow.
Quiring (173)
“The Duncans’ house however, boasted a clock, a magnificent contrivance of walnut panels, brass pendulums, and a face decorated with quiring cherubim, and this instrument pointed to half past six.”
Archaic. choir.
Tang (187)
“He lowered the dirk, kissed it at the juncture of haft and tang, and thrust it home in its sheath.”
a long and slender projecting strip, tongue, or prong forming part of an object, as a chisel, file, or knife, and serving as a means of attachment for another part, as a handle or stock.
Quaich (187)
“Turning, Colum picked up a silver quaich from its place on the tartan-covered table behind him.”
a Scottish drinking cup of the 17th and 18th centuries having a shallow bowl with two or three flat handles. (see picture)
Stramash (206)
“Oh, there was a great stramash about it all.”
an uproar; disturbance.
Targe (219)
“If ye have no targe to shelter your dirk hand, then you favor the right side.”
a small, round shield; a target or buckler.
Clout (245)
“It’s torn here and there and filthy as a clout, but he folds it up careful like it was his Sunday best, and lays it on the ground.”
a. a patch or piece of cloth or other material used to mend something.
b. any worthless piece of cloth; rag.

More next week!

1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

Holy cow, that's a ton of words! The only one I knew was potsherds and I'm not sure I knew that. I thought I knew clout, but that's a different meaning than what I know. Thanks for participating!